Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | All Posts
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I love how smart Apple is with its line of iPods, and more important, the content it makes available for iPods. I got a video iPod for Christmas (good thing, since my 40GB 4th generation iPod is filled up with over 11,000 songs), and in addition to putting all my classical music and odds and ends like podcasts on the thing, I’ve been putting videos on it.

It's been 25 years since John Lennon was murdered in front of his New York City apartment building by a crazed fan. Over time, the media have covered the anniversary with diminishing interest, but this year resonates because of its quarter-century milestone. I've been listening to a pretty good two-CD compilation, "Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon," released by Capitol Records (and compiled, with "definitive" decisiveness, by widow Yoko Ono), and appreciating Lennon's solo work more than I have in years.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote a rhapsodic review of Madonna. I thought back then that she was a perfect encapsulation of American consumerism, and though that's kind of an icky concept, I thought she was special because her music was so good. She captures (or at least back then, captured) the American "zeitgeist" (sorry to use such a geek crit-term, but it's a good one) with pure pop for all people. Anyone who didn't like her music were just plain high-culture snobs or didn't have an ounce of humor and/or rhythm in their bones.

Buttermilk fried chicken from Chef E's, with fried green tomatoes, spicy cabbage and mashed sweet potatoes.
Ain’t it great when a dining experience is positively orgasmic? I for one, live for those meals. The first meal with the AAJA Link student staff at the AAJA convention in Minneapolis was one of those great foodfests.

The future of journalism, of course, is in the hands of the young journalists and journalism students who are about to enter the profession. That’s why I’m happy (and honored) to be volunteering as one of the professional mentors working with a group of students on AAJALink, the student-run Web site covering the annual convention of the Asian American Journalists Association. The confab is in Minneapolis, a city I’ve never traveled to. So far, I haven't seen much of it except what I’m sure must be the world’s largest Target (a two-story department store a block away from the retailer’s corporate offices, which is also on the downtown Minneapolis Nicollette Mall).

I'm always fascinated by the field of rock criticism. It's hard to believe that a career that didn't exist until the mid-1960s and didn't become commonplace until the late 1970s and early '80s -- that's when most paper in America finally relented and realized they better have a "staff pop music critic" onboard -- is already entrenched in traditions and patterns. There's even a Web site to rock critics' serious navel gazing, RockCritics.com. I used to be a rockcrit, and I loved my decade-plus covering music, especially because I did it for Westword when it was still a fledgling alternative paper, and I was in it for the passion. I had my heroes -- brainy academic Greil Marcus, Rock & Rap Confidential founder Dave Marsh and the Village Voice's self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics," Robert Christgau.

There was an interesting piece in the Washington Post yesterday, about a woman in South Korea whose dog pooped on a subway. She refused to clean it up, much to the consternation of other passengers nearby (what the hell is a dog doing in the subway anyway?). One passenger took a digital photo and put it on a citizen journalism Web site, and then all hell broke loose. Everyone started calling her the "Dog Poop Lady" and chattering back and forth online about how awful she is. Bloggers joined in, and the search for her identity began (her face was obscured in the photo).